Home > Hep C test should be part of over-50s check-up.

[Irish Medical Times] , Gantly, Dara Hep C test should be part of over-50s check-up. (15 May 2014)

External website: http://www.imt.ie/news/uncategorized/2014/05/hep-c...

Hepatitis C should be added to the diseases and conditions regularly tested for as part of a routine over-50s health check, a leading authority on the virus has suggested.

Prof Graham Foster of Queen Mary University of London also believes that the new treatments becoming available mark a “game changing” moment in the battle against the virus.

“This is a transformation — people that were on a waiting list for a liver transplant are coming off that waiting list. This is a truly miraculous medicine,” he told journalists at the International Liver Congress (ILC) 2014 in London last month (April 11).

Speaking at a satellite media education session on the hepatitis C virus, organised by AbbVie, Prof Foster said that for most patients, this virus goes on to give the chronic form of the disease. “This is the virus where you feel 100 per cent fine: you are not aware you have got hepatitis C. Some patients feel a little tired, or they wake up and their joints ache. But you don’t think ‘I must get tested for hepatitis C’ — it is not on your radar. But it needs to be. We need to get people tested and cured.”

While it is estimated that one in 100 are carrying Hep C in their liver, 85 per cent of these individuals do not realise they are carrying a cancer-causing virus. And as it takes 30 years to develop serious liver problems, Prof Foster predicted that there would be an “explosion” of cases over the next decade, due to the legacy of injecting drug users in the West during the 1960s and ’70s.

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